“After 60 years, this is still the home and life I desire.”

I recall the third day of my life at Marywood. I was so homesick I left mass during Father Wilson’s homily to tell Sister Patricia Clare I wanted to go home. How grateful I am today that wiser minds than my own prevailed and I was urged to give it a few more days. Years later I remain grateful. Amid all the changes that have taken place in the Church and in religious life, I have always treasured the call to Dominican Life within this congregation.

Looking back not only over the years I have lived as a Grand Rapids Dominican, but also on the 18 years I spent amid my family, I have so much for which I am grateful. I enjoyed a happy and secure childhood. I was the ninth born in a family of 11 children. I was one of only 3 girls amid 8 boys so I am often reminded I was a bit spoiled. That means I did not have to do the field work or milk the cows. I enjoyed such things as cleaning, laundry and some of my favorite activities – cooking and baking.

The first 30 years of my life in community were focused a great deal on education – both my own and in teaching elementary students. During those years I also experienced the many changes taking place in the Catholic Church and in religious life. I will always be grateful for having experienced both the pre Vatican and the post Vatican Church.

Two vacations from those earlier years stand out in my memory. One was a Greyhound trip that Sister Jean Marie Birkman and I took. We boarded the Greyhound in Duluth MN and took a northern route to California. Coming back east we used the southern route. What a remarkable experience to see so much of our country as we celebrated the country’s bicentennial. The second trip was the summer after my silver jubilee. I visited S Margaret Mary in Chimbote, Peru. For weeks after returning I could not take a shower or drink a glass of water without recalling my time there.

The summer of 1989 was a turning point for me. During that summer I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Since severe fatigue was one of many symptoms I was experiencing I found it necessary to resign from teaching and find other forms of ministry. Since then I have found a variety of positions that were less stressful but still very rewarding.

At present I am living at Marywood. I still enjoy cooking and baking and love to share the fruits of these labors with the Sisters here at Marywood. God has indeed blessed me with a loving family and community. What more could one want?